Caledoniyya

The Mystery of Amina

Or not so.

The media has been whipped into a frenzy twice this week: first, by the news that the Syrian-American blogger Amina Abdallah Araf al Omari had been arrested and detained by the Syrian authorities, and latterly that she may not exist.

Too coincidental? Perchance.

The charges that she is fictitious are flimsy to the eyes of those dwelling in the blogosphere, chiefly that she utilized the profile image of London-based Jelena Lecic (right).

According to Lecic, the image was taken during a trip to Paris, while subsequent images circulated of ‘Amina’ are also drawn from her online profiles.

Yet this is not uncommon: many of my Facebook friends have images of famous or merely beautiful unknown women as their profile pictures.

I have an image of Leila Khaled donning a nifty Po Boy cap and glinting askance at the monochrome lens, while my Twitter and blogging images comprises the infamous Mata Hari, poised like a dancer on cue.

The headlines scream inconsistencies, but the details are less uncertain – the notion that her girlfriend never met her is in fact the result of an online relationship.

Not so unusual.

She blogged under a ‘fake’ name – pseudonym would be better, and again, not so unusual.

Bloggers oft utilize pen-names: I do so for professional reasons; perhaps others are motivated by personal circumstances due to the implications their musings will bear on their freedom of movement or friends and family.

It strikes as too convenient to stifle the Free Amina movement swift on the frenzy that followed news of her arrest.

Equally, the idea that she presents too perfect an icon for the new Arab world: female, young, gay and activist is causing unease amidst critics.

If for a moment we entertain the prospect that she is a construct, would it be such a bad rallying figure?

The new dawn needs unity and if such an icon, fictional or otherwise, can represent all, it could prove a positive development.

Let’s watch this space.

3 comments on “The Mystery of Amina

  1. Pingback: THE TRUTH ABOUT AMINA ARRAF « MUIGAI.WORDPRESS.COM

  2. phillegitimate
    June 12, 2011

    Have you seen the latest post on the Amina site?

    • Layla
      June 13, 2011

      Yes! Very mystifying! I’m looking forward to their ‘big’ interview once they return from their Turkish holiday (boy, are they milking this). 😦

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This entry was posted on June 9, 2011 by in Middle East and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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